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An Isaac Newton Institute Workshop

Reconnection in the Sun and Magnetosphere (Hewlett-Packard and Spitalfields Days)

Space- and time-dependant heating of solar coronal loops

Authors: Stephen Higgins (Centre for Astrophysics, University of Central Lancashire), Robert Walsh (Centre for Astrophysics, University of Central Lancashire)


We are investigating how space and time dependant heating of solar coronal loops affects their observable properties.

To make progress with the problem of how the solar corona is heated we need to understand how different heating mechanisms can be distinguished in observations. Loops outline the structure of the magnetic field and show where plasma is densest and may be strongly heated (hence luminous). Thus through observations of loops and the interpretation of those observations we can find clues to the heating mechanisms. Different heating mechanisms can produce different forms of spatially varying heating.

We simulate the loop in one dimension with a hydrodynamic scheme, applicable to loops shorter than the scale height. We apply three spatial profiles for heating, at frequencies ranging over four orders of magnitude. The heating variation drives waves and flows in the loop plasma. Spatial heating regimes produce clearly distinct relations between temperature and frequency, which can be characterised quite simply. These relations could be compared to observations to constrain heating models.